Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

It's Halloween and you completely forgot to get a costume. Or maybe you were planning on staying in for the night but you've scored a last-minute invite to a party. You're in luck. Making a unique, last-minute, adult Halloween costume is a lot easier than you might think.

"It's about how clever and resourceful you can be," Mark Addison, a top New York City designing and entertaining expert, told "It's how to take everyday household items and turn them into 'spooktacular' costumes."

One of the easiest ways to make a costume is to take an old button-down shirt or a white T-shirt that has seen better days and turn it into something new. Many DIY costumes take under an hour to make and require absolutely no sewing. The most complicated tool that is needed is a hot glue gun, but if you don't have that, regular glue will keep everything in place too.

An easy way to make an object or article of clothing look dirty and distressed is to rub charcoal on it, but keep in mind that it will be like that forever, so pick a piece of clothing you don't plan on wearing again. Red food coloring is also great as fake blood.

It's easy to make your own last-minute Halloween costume in just a few steps.

Zombie 1%

With the huge success of AMC's "Walking Dead," zombie costumes will definitely be abundant at this year's Halloween celebrations. So why not be a zombie, but with your own unique twist? Addison came up with Zombie 1%.

1. Cut off the cuffs and collar of a white button-down shirt. 2. Use scissors to cut up the shirt and tear the sleeves to make it look frayed. 3. Fill a bucket with warm water and 20 tea bags. Once the water is saturated with tea, submerge the shirt in the water for about an hour. This can also be done with coffee. 4. Once the shirt is dry, rub dirt on the shirt to give it a grunge look.

And there you have your Occupy Wall St.-Zombie inspired costume. Let the 99 percent of zombies be jealous of your creative look.

Magic Mike

If you're going to an adult party and looking for a costume that's a little sexier, bring out your inner Channing Tatum with a Magic Mike costume. And because Magic Mike dances shirtless, it takes barely any preparation.

1. Carefully cut off the cuffs and collar along the sewn edge of a white button-down shirt. Fabric scissors will be the easiest to cut with. 2. Place two brass-plated fasteners in the button holes of the cuffs to make cuff links. 3. Hot-glue a piece of black ribbon or fabric along the base of the collar and tie a bow. Staple the bow to the collar to keep its form and hot-glue it to the collar.

Pair your collar and cuffs with black pants and you're ready to be the life of the party, Magic Mike style. For step-by-step photo directions, check out Addison's website.


While women can't exactly be Magic Mike, they can make a similarly easy costume. Use the same steps from the Magic Mike costume to make cuffs and a collar for your own Arista-Cat costume. Wear them with a black shirt and you're ready to go. But don't forget your top hat, which is equally easy to make.

1. Take a cardboard cereal box and use something circular, like a 9-inch plate, to trace and cut a circle for the brim of your hat. 2. Trace the outline of the top of a cylinder oatmeal container in the middle of the hat brim. Draw lines across the center circle to make eight pie sections. Cut along the pie sections, leaving the outer circle attached so that the pie sections can be folded upward. 3. Glue black fabric (an old T-shirt or a tablecloth works) or felt around the sides of the oatmeal container. Glue black fabric to the top of the hat, too. 4. Attach the brim to the felt-covered oatmeal container by hot-gluing the turned-up pie sections to the inside of the oatmeal container opening.

For the cat part of your Arista-Cat costume:

1. Cut two triangular shapes out of the pipe insulation tube and glue them to the sides of the top hat to make ears. 2. Use the remainder of the black pipe insulation foam tube to fashion the cat's tail and using a safety pin, fasten it to the back of your waistband.

Using these pieces and an all-black outfit, you are ready to go as an Arista-Cat.

James Bond

The new James Bond movie "Skyfall" is set to be one of the biggest films in the world when it hits theaters Nov. 9. So why not throw on a suit, grab a water gun or toy gun and be your own Bond. Have your date wear a cocktail gown and you've got your Bond girl. Once you've got your suit and your girl, get into character by pretending you drive fast cars and your name is Agent 007. And, of course, introduce yourself as Bond, your first name.

The election is also a hot topic this year, so you can wear a suit, carry an America flag and be a presidential candidate. Or pair a black suit with some sunglasses and be a secret service agent.

PHOTO: All it takes is a white button down shirt, some hangers, ribbon and pipe insulation foam to dress up as an angel for Halloween.
Courtesy Mark Addison

Throwing on a dress and a pair of angel wings is probably one of the easiest costumes to make. Angel wings are surprisingly easy to make. All it takes is a white button-down shirt, some hangers, ribbon and any kind of foam, such as pipe insulation foam.

1. Bend two wire hangers into the shape of wings. 2. Cut off the back of a button-down shirt. 3. Lay the bent hangers on top of the shirt and glue the two together. Let the glue dry, then cut the shirt along the frame of the wings. 4. Glue ribbon along the edge of the wire wings. 5. If you have feathers, you can glue them around the outside of the wings, using the white ribbon as a guide. 6. Attach the wings together by twisting the wire hooks together in the center and secure them with white tape and glue, if needed. 7. Glue white ribbon around the center of the wings to make straps. You can also use elastic instead of ribbon.

For an added touch, sprinkle glitter on the wings.

Pair the wings with a white outfit and you're the perfect little angel. You can also use these wings to be a fairy.

Sheep and Grapes

Who doesn't have a white T-shirt and cotton balls around their house? A sheep might be the easiest costume to make by gluing cotton balls to a T-shirt.

Another fun idea that just takes glue and an old T-shirt is grapes. Glue balloons (preferably green, red or purple but when it's last-minute, whatever you have will work just fine) to a shirt and you've got a grape costume. Just stay away from any pointy costumes.


Channel your inner Queen Elizabeth I for this creative Elizabethan-era costume. Relive the golden age of English history with this fancy collar and cuffs that are easy to make with a stack of coffee filters and a stapler.

1. Remove the cuffs and collar from white button-down shirt. 2. Cut white coffee filters in half and cut out the flat bottom portion. 3. Staple the coffee filters around the collar in a circular motion, applying five to 10 filters layered each time for a total of three layers. 4. For the final layer, remove one-third off of the bottom of the remaining cut coffee filters with a pair of scissors. Staple the cut filters around the collar in a circular motion, applying five to 10 filters at a time. Repeat this step twice. 5. Cut the flat centers out of the remaining uncut coffee filters. Staple the filters around the sleeves where the cuffs used to be. 6. Remove one-third off the bottom with a pair of scissors. Apply this layer on top of the already applied layer.

Complete this with a dress or other look of your choice. You can also make a sword using a yard stick with foam piping as the cross.

Pumpkin Pi

A fun last-minute costume idea for couples, or best friends, is pumpkin pi. And all it takes is a Sharpie and two T-shirts.

1. Draw the face of a pumpkin on an orange T-shirt. One person wears that. 2. Write the numbers of pi on a separate colored T-shirt of your choice. In case you missed eighth-grade math, pi is 3.14159. Writing the pi symbol works, too.

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